ZTE is the latest manufacturer to strike a deal with Microsoft. The company has been making its rounds over the years to every major Android and Chrome manufacturer, writing up deals to license its patents used in Google’s software.
The Chinese manufacturer can now use Microsoft’s global patent portfolio for any computers, tablets, or phones that run Chrome OS or Android. No details about the amount paid or the logistics of royalties were disclosed by Microsoft. With ZTE now signed on, Microsoft has made deals with 20 different companies, according the The Guardian. Just last week, Microsoft announced a similar deal with Hon Hai – Foxconn’s parent company, which leaves only Huawei and Motorola unsigned.
“Much of the current litigation in the so-called ‘smartphone patent wars’ could be avoided if companies were willing to recognize the value of others’ creations in a way that is fair,” Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft Vice President and General Counsel said in a statement. “At Microsoft, experience has taught us that respect for intellectual-property rights is a two-way street, and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights.”
To date, Microsoft has inked deals with major hardware companies like Acer, HTC, LG, Sony, and Samsung, among others. But it seems Microsoft has more ground to cover, the company claims 80 percent of Android smartphones sold in the U.S. and a majority worldwide fall under its patents. Microsoft hasn’t gone after Google legally, but regardless, the Android-maker stands firm that neither Chrome OS or Android infringes Microsoft’s patents.
It comes as no surprise then that Google-owned Motorola has so far resisted Microsoft’s demands to license its smartphones’ use of Android. This has led to a lot of small-scale litigation in Europe and the U.S., through which Motorola has defended a number of its own patents and even seeked injunctions on Xbox imports.
Gutierrez included some choice words in his statement that seem to explicitly target the drama with Motorola: “We have worked for multiple years to reach an amicable solution with the few global companies who have yet to take a license, but so far they have been unwilling to address these issues in a fair manner. We’d prefer to consider these companies licensing partners and remain hopeful they can join the rest of the industry in the near future.”